Skip Navigation

Welcome to Bedford Borough Council

Home > Community Histories > Aspley Guise > The Swan Beerhouse Aspley Guise

The Swan Beerhouse Aspley Guise

Swan Aspley Guise
The modern photograph was taken in February 2006 and the former Swan is the second building from the left.

The Swan Beerhouse: 3 Bedford Road, Aspley Guise

Bedfordshire & Luton Archives & Records Service does not hold many records devoted to this beerhouse making it difficult to write with any great certainty about its history. There may have been two houses bearing the name, though not necessarily at the same time.

The 1841 census shows a public house in Church Street the publican being John Carling whilst ten years later Thomas Noble, at The Swan, is in the same place. Both censuses seem to show that The Swan seems to have occupied the building today known as The Shrubbery. The Swan seems to have closed down at some point after 1851 as it does not appear as a licensed premises in the 1861 census. The likeliest date for this change seems to be 1853 as the Bedfordshire Times for the 2nd July that year carries an advertisement as follows: BEAUTIFULLY SITUATED FREEHOLD PROPERTY Consisting of a Substantially Built DWELLING HOUSE with good Cellarage, excellent Stable and Loft, brewhouse, Barn, and Piggeries, with GARDEN AND ORCHARD. Containing about One Acre, known as the SWAN INN, a FREE PUBLIC HOUSE, and about one mile and a half from the Ridgemount and Woburn Railway Stations. JOHN USHER, is favoured with Instructions TO SELL the above Property by Auction, AT THE MAGPIE INN, WOBURN, on FRIDAY, the 22nd day of JULY, 1853 at 7 o'clock in the evening. Particulars are preparing, and may be obtained from Mr.T.W.Turnley, Solicitor, or of John Usher, Architect and Surveyor, Bedford". This description, such as it is, could easily fit The Shrubbery.

What seems to have happened is that a beerhouse seems to have opened in East Street, as Bedford Road was then called, taking the same name. Licensing records list a string of landlords at the Swan for the next sixty years or so.

The last tenant of the Swan, then certainly in Bedford Road, was John Hattil Hines and it closed in December 1909. In 1910 the Domesday Survey was carried out throughout the country to obtain, for the first time since 1086, an accurate picture of all landholding. This survey put John Hattil Hines at the modern 3 Bedford Road. This property is shown in the survey as still being owned by Allfrey & Lovell, the Newport Pagnell brewers making it certain that No.3 Bedford Road is the old Swan, at least for the latter part of its existence.

In 2013 3 Bedford Road was for sale. the particulars [Z449/6/11] detailed, on the ground floor: a sitting room measuring 24 feet 7 inches by 12 feet 5 inches; a W. C. and a kitchen/breakfast room measuring 13 feet 4 inches by 9 feet 1 inch. The first floor: bedrooms contained two bedrooms measuring, respectively, 11 feet 3 inches by 9 feet 4 inches and 17 feet 2 inches by 11 feet 1 inch. Two more bedrooms measuring 10 feet 9 inches by 8 feet 4 inches and 11 feet 7 inches by 8 feet 7 inches together with a bathroom lay on the second floor whilst beneath the property was a cellar dining room measuring 11 feet 6 inches by 11 feet. Outside were: a driveway; parking; a fish pond; a summerhouse and a pergola.

List of Licensees : note that this is not a complete list ; entries in italics refer to licensees where either beginning or end, or both, dates are not known:
1822-1841: John Carling;
1847: William Clark;
1850: Thomas Lewis;
1851: Thomas Noble in Church Street

Change of premises?

1853: George Cook (also shopkeeper) and Richard Deverell (also farmer);
1854: George Cook;
1862: Samuel Chibnell (plasterer);
1881: William Clarke;
1881-1882: Henry Sutton;
1882-1884: Robert Morton;
1884-1889: Robert William Cox;
1889-1891: Josiah William Brown;
1891-1894: William John Kempster;
1894: Thomas Barrett;
1897: Joseph Francis Smith;
1897-1906: John Atterbury;
1906-1907: William Doughty;
1907-1909: John Hattil Hines;
Public House closed December 1909

List of Sources at Bedfordshire & Luton Archives & Records Service:

  • PSW3/1: Register of Alehouse Licences - Woburn Petty Sessional Division: 1868-1949;
  • DBV1/3 and DBV3/250 - Domesday Survey - 1910.